Health Check: what to eat and drink when you have gastro

Health Check: what to eat and drink when you have gastro

Unfortunately, we are at more risk of gastrointestinal infections with CLL, particularly if we are neutropenic.  Vincent Ho, Lecturer and clinical academic gastroenterologist, Western Sydney University explains what fluids are best to maintain your electrolyte balance, what foods are best eaten while you recover and the possible value of probiotics.  This article isn't specific to CLL, but it's worth reading and filing away for when you next need it.  It is particularly worth noting common practices the author highlights that need data to confirm their helpfulness:

If you are neutropenic - either due to treatment of because of the effect of CLL (due to bone marrow and/or spleen involvement and possibly an auto-immune complication), then you are at a higher risk of gastroenteritis from bacteria in foods.  Your risk of becoming ill can be reduced by avoiding foods that are likely to have a higher level of bacterial contamination as explained in this post:

Note that you can find a number of neutropenic diet recommendations on line, but the science behind them is not clear.  Thus the more recent approach by dieticians is to somewhat relax the food restrictions when you are neutropenic, so that you are still eating a wide range of foods to ensure you have a sufficiently nutritious diet.


Photo: Probably not a good idea to include this toadstool in your diet if you want to avoid gastro...


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6 Replies

  • Most of us are still catching up on the fact that there's a difference between bacteria and viruses. The norovirus, as well as less known viruses also lurk around salad bars, and probably in ice at some fast food restaurants, though bacteria is what's been in the news lately simply because it's easier to measure. "Fresh" is just not friendly for most of us CLLers. I would add that it's not just bacteria and viruses, but also fungi that can take over the digestive tract for shorter or longer periods.

    Watch out for "artisan" fermented foods, currently in vogue as immune boosters. This page is worth printing out, and studying:

    For those inclined to learn more about recent research into the relationship between microbes and our body, a good read is:

    "10% Human" by Alanna Collen

    It was published less than a year ago, but its title is already out of date. The latest count is that we're about 1/3 to 1/2 human.

    As soon as science figures out how to count viruses in and on the body, the title will probably be correct once again ... for awhile. 

    Her point is that there are trillions of microbes within and upon us. There's thousands of species, some of which interact with our hormones, neurotransmitters, and immune system for good or ill. Some of the species do not even have names yet, and how they interact with each other and various parts of our body will not be known for some years. 

    Collen writes very well for an educated lay audience, and actually has a bibliography and footnotes that are worth investigating.

  • Worth reminding ourselves of this.

    I thought your fungus was a mouldy piece of orange peel.

    PS is there any way we can mark posts to find again at a later date?

  • My posts can generally be found using Google unless I 'lock' them.  Use the search term ' cllsupport search words', where search words for this post would be 'gastro eat drink'.  You could also bookmark posts of interest, or save them to your computer.


  • Thank you!

  • Does anyone have CLL and Hashimoto? What to expect? Thank you

  • Melania,

    You'll have a much greater chance of helpful replies by asking in your own post, rather than raising it in an unrelated post.  Click on the Help in the Menu bar for the instructions 'How do I create a post?'

    I hope you have a good specialist or specialists that communicate, since I don't think the two would be a good combination.


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